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Watch: Malta suffer opening defeat in FIBA 3×3 qualifiers

The Malta squad for the Europe Cup qualifiers in Cyprus. Photo: FIBA

Malta’s women’s 3×3 side opened their account in international competition with a tough 13-7 loss to Luxembourg in Pool A Saturday morning.

Malta opened its commitments with captain Stephanie De Martino, Ashleigh Van Vliet, and Mikela Riolo in the side’s debut in Limassol.

Luxembourg started the first possession, but it was De Martino with the first shot of the game from deep that bounced off the rim. She missed another before Luxembourg replied with a Michelle Dittgen effort which went in and out.

Van Vliet opened the scoring for Malta just past the first minute with an and-one after a layup. With the free throw off the mark, Luxembourg got right back in with a score after the ensuing possession.

From then on, a number of missed shots from both sides characterised the following two minutes before Bridget Yoerger breaks the deadlock with a driving effort for Luxembourg’s first lead of the game.

Malta, on the other hand, tried to push for shots from beyond the arc. However, unable to drop these shots, Nadia Mossong made it 3-1 for Luxembourg with another layup.

Samantha Brincat found space in the open lane to stop Luxembourg’s 2-0 run to bring it back to within one with 6.11 to go.

Luxembourg made it 4-2 with a technical free throw from Dittgen before Yeorger restarted their run with another score.

Riolo took one back as Malta fought to keep the game in close margins with four minutes to go. But on return from a time out, Yeorger stunned Van Vliet with a two-point shot right from the pass.

With Luxembourg in control, Dittgen made it 8-3 but Malta got one back with a second chance point from van Vliet and finally got their first two-pointer from De Martino with 2.5 minutes to go as the side got back to within two points.

Van Vliet managed to get them back to within a point, the side also on a 3-0 run. But Luxembourg responded with baskets from Yeorgen and Dittgen to reassert their dominance in the final seconds of the game with a 5-0 run.

Malta S. De Martino 2, A. Van Vliet 3, S. Brincat 1, M. Riolo 1.

Luxembourg M. Dittgen 3, A. Hasanovic, N. Mossong 1, B. Yoerger 9.

Pool A

Luxembourg 13; Malta 7; Cyprus.

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